This information is a guide and should not be used as a substitute for professional legal advice.
Published: May 2022
Last updated: February 2024
If you are a private renter experiencing financial hardship, our confidential and free financial counselling service may be able to help you. This page also links to useful help offered by other websites and services.
Free financial counselling service
Our confidential financial counselling service supports private renters in Victoria.
This free service includes assistance with any matter in relation to debt such as:
- Rent arrears (overdue or outstanding rent) – current or previous properties
- Utility debt in current or previous properties – electricity, gas, phone, water
- Credit – such as loans, credit cards and consumer leases
- Fines – at any stage
- Complaints about your utility or credit provider
We can also assist with:
- Analysing your current financial situation
- Managing your debt
- Referring you to other services that may be able to help you
- Advice and information on credit and bankruptcy
If you would like to know more, contact us:
Other useful help
If you need information and assistance, these other websites, services and programs may be able to help you.
National Debt Helpline
National Debt Helpline is a not-for-profit service that helps people tackle their debt problems. It is not a lender and does not ‘sell’ anything or make money from people. Its professional financial counsellors offer a free, independent and confidential service.
Contact a financial counsellor on 1800 007 007, 9.30am to 4.30pm weekdays.
Moneysmart helps people take control of their money with free tools, tips and guidance.
No Interest Loans Scheme (NILS)
NILS provides low-income households with access to safe, accordable credit for essential goods and services.
Centrelink Rent Assistance payments
Rent Assistance is a regular extra payment for people who are already getting certain Centrelink payments through Services Australia. The amount of assistance depends on how much rent is paid.
Rent Assist bond loans
The Rent Assist bond loan is available from the Victorian Government to help pay a bond when moving into a rental. Eligibility requirements apply, including income limits.
Concessions are available to Victorians on low incomes who are having trouble paying their council rates and water, gas and electricity bills. There are requirements for each concession – check the Victorian Government’s concession eligibility calculator.
Utility relief grants
This grant helps pay for an overdue utility bill, such as mains electricity and gas or water, that is overdue due to a temporary crisis. The grants are available to Victorians on low incomes. If you are eligible, you must contact your electricity, gas or water retail company, which will start the application.
Housing Establishment Fund
The Housing Establishment Fund provides financial help to eligible people experiencing housing-related hardship. More information is on the ‘Financial help for private renters’ page on the HousingVic website.
Private Rental Assistance Program (PRAP)
The Victorian Government’s Private Rental Assistance Program (PRAP) is available to eligible renters who are in financial hardship or survivors of family violence who will be able to sustain their rentals with some support. Search for ‘PRAP’ in a search engine to find community organisations that deliver the program. You can also check the government’s guidelines for how community organisations should operate PRAP.
The Ask Izzy search tool helps you find local support services in your area.
The Salvation Army helps people in crisis meet their immediate needs and find long-term solutions. Call 13 72 58.
Red Cross Emergency Relief
Red Cross Emergency Relief provides support for temporary visa holders, people seeking asylum and people with an uncertain visa status to help meet their basic needs.
Lifeline Australia provides all Australians experiencing emotional distress with access to 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention services. Call 13 11 14.